Group Captain Matt Peterson has handed over command of RAF Coningsby to Group Captain Billy Cooper.
On 4th May 2020, Peterson returned for his final tour at RAF Coningsby to assume command of the Station. Since assuming the post, he has had a memorable two and a half years, from COVID-19 lockdowns to PM visits, all whilst providing immense support and morale to the Station.
After serving for nearly 24 years, Peterson has decided to leave the Service on a high and is excited to see what the next chapter brings with his two children, George and Albert, and his wife, Samantha.
“The last 2 and a half years have undoubtedly been the highlight of my service career and this Station, and its extraordinarily talented whole force team, have my deepest respect and admiration. We have faced incredible challenges over my tenure as Station Commander, but it is testament to the exceptional determination and professionalism of this remarkable team that we have overcome them all to deliver unprecedented operational output across the globe.
I have every confidence the Station will continue to go from strength to strength with my successor Group Captain Billy Cooper and I wish him, and all on this remarkable station, the very best for the future.” - Group Captain Matt Peterson
Now, we welcome Group Captain Billy Cooper as the new Station Commander for RAF Coningsby.
Group Captain Cooper was brought up in Cornwall and joined the RAF in 1996. He completed flying training in 2000 with his first two tours on the Tornado F3 including operations over Iraq. In 2006, he was an inaugural member of 3 (Fighter) Squadron on Typhoon and was heavily involved in the start-up of Typhoon QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) operations. Subsequently, he was part of the team designing and instructing on the first Typhoon Qualified Weapons Instructor Course in 2009.
In 2012, Gp Capt Cooper found himself back at Coningsby, when he was posted again to 3 (Fighter) Squadron. He commanded the first Typhoon Baltic Air Policing deployment and subsequently became the Officer Commanding 1435 Flight in the Falkland Islands.
Gp Capt Cooper has also had command of 6 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth and conducted operations over Iraq and Syria during this tenure.
In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, fishing, cricket, and long-range target rifle shooting as the Chairman of the UK Armed Forces Shooting Committee.
"I want to thank Gp Capt Peterson for handing over the Station in such fantastic health and I wish him and his family all the best for the future as he leaves the Service. RAF Coningsby is an incredible Station, with an exemplary record of delivering on operations as a cornerstone of UK defence, both at home and overseas.
I am proud to have been given the responsibility of commanding, leading, and supporting the whole team at RAF Coningsby as we meet future challenges, and continue to deliver the critical defence upon which the nation relies." - Station Commander, Group Captain Billy Cooper